First, don't misread anger for frustration or skepticism. Second, his misinformation comes across in telling all writers that they can use his methods and become rich (or that's the strong implication). Third, he consistently paints trade publishers as 'dinosaurs', doomed to extinction, ignoring the fact that they are epublishing books (consistently refers to self-publishing as e-publishing as if they are the same thing), and has misrepresented his own story as to the circumstances leading to his going the self-publishing route. Mainly, I just don't care for his promoting this 'divide' between trade published authors and self-publishers. That seems to be one of his main claims to fame, taking advantage of the frustrations authors feel.
What he complains about is the 25% of net for authors on ebooks. He's right that if publishers don't offer better terms, that more and more authors (current mid-list authors with trade publishing contracts) will start to self-publish their books. Why wouldn't they? I personally know three authors who had books with trade publishers (Penguin, Harlequin, and the other was a bestseller in Ireland, but I don't know the publisher.) All three have stated that they make far more money than they did with their publishers. One has signed a contract with an Amazon imprint.
Also, Konrath was not the one to advocate the 99 cent/free books. For 99 cents, it was John Locke and Victorine Lieske. Both have had great success with that price point and marketing, but you're correct that the allure of that is fading. That's okay though, because as self-published authors, we have the flexibility to adapt quickly to a changing market.
The free thing was another author who managed to get Amazon to price match her free book on another site. She posted about her experience sometime in late April/early May on Kindleboards. That was when I made my first book free on Smashwords. A few days later, I put it back to paid because I hadn't had many downloads on Smashwords. Here is where luck came into play for me. Apparently my price change had already been sent out to places like Sony and Apple. I never saw it free at those places, but another site reported it being free on Sony. (I'm blanking on the site's name, but it's one that keeps track of book prices.) A few weeks later, my book was price matched on Amazon. Because I had already changed the price back to paid at Smashwords, the price match lasted just 6 days--which was perfect. The boost in visibility, plus I already had dozens of good reviews, drove sales (priced at 99 cents at the time) for the whole month of June, where it finished, I believe, #59 in the store for that month. Ftr, no friends or family have ever reviewed my books. I have friends who reviewed my books but weren't friends at the time--I barely knew them in passing. We became friends several months later.
It also drove sales of my second book, which reached as high as 220. That was also key because I had that one priced at $2.99 and sold about 5,000 of them that month. Which brings me to my point of Konrath and prices. Ever since the 70/30 royalty pricing went into effect in July 2010, he has said that *he* believed the sweet spot for pricing books was $2.99. He acknowledged other authors' successes at free or 99 cents though. He's always advocating doing what is right or works for you.
There are as many reasons one is successful in self-publishing as there are authors - the book, the timing, the genre, being able to work the 'word of mouth' effectively, etc. I'm glad you are seeing success (what do you write, btw?) but there are a lot of writers who follow his methods and won't do a thing, sales-wise. (His freebie/cheap pricing 'method' is actually starting to less and less effective, as its 'uniqueness' is fading into the woodwork.)
I am writing a series called The Mark Taylor series. They are psychological thrillers with a little magical realism. The first book is called No Good Deed.
If people really want to learn about self-publishing, first they need to learn about trade and indie-publishing, so they know how publishing itself works. That way they know some of what they'll be doing when they put on the publisher hat. Then they need to look at different authors who have self-published - particularly the ones who will tell it like it is instead of sugar-coating things. They also need to look at people who have been doing this a lot longer than Konrath - people like Kenneth W. Umbach, who wrote "The Pursuit of Publishing - An Unvarnished Guide for the Perplexed", which discusses all aspects of publishing, including commercial, self, and vanity publishing. It's free, btw.
I'd prefer to read about someone who has experience doing things the way I am. If I want to learn about self-publishing via KDP or Pubit, wouldn't it make sense to learn from someone who has been doing it successfully almost since it became available? I'm sure Umbach has some helpful advice, but is it current *now*? I just took a look at his PDF on his website. His advice is outdated. Here is one of his definitions of a self published author:
Prints hundreds or thousands of copies
• Stores copies awaiting sale
• Fulfills order
Seriously? Why in the world would a self-published author print of hundreds of copies of their books when they can order them POD? Same for storage and fulfilling orders. What he says was probably very good advice...five years ago.
ETA: For relevant and timely information on current publishing practices, I've found the most helpful site is The Passive Voice. It's a blog about all things publishing, both traditional and self-publishing, and has a lot of information for authors on how to protect themselves from unfair contracts. The link below is good example.http://www.thepassivevoice.com/05/2012/a-minimum-wage-for-authors/